Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
“Local firms will welcome recognition of the importance of the Irish Border issue and the attempts to provide solutions. But this is a disappointing effort – the proposals are too superficial to be of use in practice. If this is the ERGs road to Brexit, the final destination is disastrous for jobs and prosperity.
“There is no solution to agreeing a backstop, without which the negotiations will not move forward and the much-needed transition will become a cliff edge.
“The paper is also based on the wrong premise - that a Canada-style deal is desirable. UK businesses have been abundantly clear that such a relationship is an ocean away from what is needed to protect prosperity.
“The failure to recognise that Northern Ireland’s trade with Great Britain relies on supply chains criss-crossing the Irish border is a major shortcoming. In many cases, the only practical way for just-in-time goods to get from Northern Ireland to the South East of England is through use of ports in Ireland.
“Finally, the paper displays a concerning laissez-faire attitude towards cross-border smuggling. Post-Brexit tariff differentials on goods will incentivise smuggling - harming the profitability of legitimate businesses near the border and, crucially, compromising the reputation Northern Ireland has earned for producing high quality goods – particularly agri-food goods - in crucial export markets.”